There had been global moments before, which gave rise to new global political discourses and reordering. These moments are characterized by great wars, epidemics, pandemics, shift of political and economic paradigms.
In the past five to six months life has changed globally. Thousands of people are dying and the death toll is still on the increase, the global economy is taking downturn, governments are seeking support and speaking the same language and reprioritizing their national political agenda to saving lives.
The moment has parallels with WWII as the scenarios and the intensity conjure memories of previous global dark times. COVID-19 is indeed a global war, even statesmen are giving a meaning to it by comparing it to a war. For example, President Macron of France on one occasion said, “we are at war”, President Xi Jinping of China during his visit to Wuhan city mentioned it as “People’s War”, President Trump referred himself as “War time president” and Governor of New York, A. Cuomo stated that, “Ventilators are to this war what bombs were to WWII”. However, the world seized those dark moments as transformative to human thoughts to a new knowledge production and peace time discourses that contributed to research in various disciplines.
Aside from the parallel made to the global political moments, the world witnessed several epidemics which set their own distinct moments. According to WHO, in the 20th century a widespread virus called smallpox took the lives of about 300-500 million people until it was officially declared eradicated in 1980. Like COVID-19 it was fought on a global scale with unprecedented collaboration of countries around the world. What is significant here is that those moments reversed or repealed priorities of countries in many ways.
Specially in Africa, the year 2020 was designated to realize many flagship projects. As a way of realizing conflict free Africa, many African states planned their elections to take place in 2020. Will elections take place during the pandemic? It is a question of which comes first, human life or power, etc..? In addition, AU designated 2020 as the year of ‘Silencing the Gun”. According to OCHA records, the official military spending of Africa in 2019 was USD41.2 billion. With the current economic slowdown, the military spending in 2020 may decrease. Nonetheless, the current stringent approaches to the electoral processes disregarding the global situation, in some cases, may lead to many gun shouts to be heard.
On the bright side, each global moment had left the world with various innovative ideas. We observe that countries are scaling up efforts in the field of scientific research to curb the spread of COVID-19 and that will provide a new platform for knowledge production locally and challenging the idea of diffusionism. In addition, country’s dependency on the global market has changed due to the disruption of the global supply chain. This led them to trade with the neighboring countries, which will ultimately provide a recipe for a new regional and sub regional collaboration. In the same vein, the World War II gave birth to the UN in 1945 and the adoption of the Universal declaration of human rights; the end of the Cold War, the moment of intense ideological rivalry, gave new light to the reformulation of the political, economic and military alliances all over the globe.
The current immunization strategy, for instance, frequently washing hands will probably address other health problems related to bacteria and communicable diseases by other viruses. According to CDC, washing hands reduce infections from 40-57%. On the labor side, the COVID-19 moment is a unique opportunity for many organizations to test the effectiveness of telecommuting in terms of saving on their general operating expenses and overall budget that is allocated for employee related spending.
With all its down sides, COVID-19 is a global moment that gives noticeable opportunities that we should gather by seizing the moment. The synergy created at this moment will provide a new impetus in the post-COVID-19 new global discourses. Nobody knows how long the COVID-19 will last but making the most out of this moment is smartness.